Devotions | Page 3 | World Challenge

Devotions

The Dangers of Instant Gratification

Carter ConlonJanuary 16, 2021

George Müller (1805-1898) was an evangelist and the director of an orphanage in England. He was a man of great faith and when asked how he could accomplish so much with so few resources, he replied, “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”

Our society is obsessed with instant gratification. We do not want to wait for anything, and many Americans find themselves in debt because they think they need the latest car, house, gadget — right now! This has created a generation that is immature, rebellious and feeling entitled to just about everything — without working hard to gain what they need or want. But instant gratification is not in God’s dictionary because it does not produce faith and trust in him. In fact, it doesn’t produce anything of spiritual worth, nor does it produce godly character.

The prophet Isaiah said, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). He will answer our prayers, but in his perfect timing and in his perfect way. Waiting is not easy but God tells us to be persistent in our prayers, believing that he will indeed answer at just the right time.

Maybe you are tired of waiting for God to answer your prayers and beginning to lose heart. Jesus tells a parable about a widow who repeatedly came to a judge looking for justice from those who had come against her. Finally, the judge said, “Because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me” (Luke 18:5). Then Jesus said, “Just as this ungodly human judge granted the request of a persistent widow, how much more will God answer you (and fight for you) if you call out to him” (see 18:7).

God does not ignore our pleas. His character is love, so in all ways he does what is in our best interest even though we might not see the answer right away with our natural eye. God has decreed that your prayer will be answered, so trust in his Word while you pray in faith!

Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. In May of 2020 he transitioned into a continuing role as General Overseer of Times Square Church, Inc.

Download PDF

God Hears Our Silent Cries

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 15, 2021

Of all 150 Psalms, Psalm 34 is my absolute favorite. It is all about our Lord’s faithfulness to deliver his children from great trials and crises. David declares, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears…The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them…The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles… Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:4,7,17,19).

Note David’s claim in this Psalm: “I sought the Lord…this poor man cried….” (34:4, 6). When did David do this crying out? It had to have happened when he was feigning madness in Gath and yet he couldn’t have prayed audibly in the Philistines’ presence. This brings us to a great truth regarding God’s deliverance. Sometimes the loudest cry is made without an audible voice.

I know what this kind of “inner crying out” is like. Many of the loudest prayers of my life—my most important, heart-wrenching, deepest cries—have been made in total silence.

At times I’ve been so benumbed by circumstances that I couldn’t speak, overwhelmed by situations so beyond me that I couldn’t think clearly enough to pray. On occasion, I’ve sat alone in my study so baffled that I was unable to say anything to the Lord at all, but the whole time my heart was crying out: “God, help me! I don’t know how to pray just now, so hear the cry of my heart. Deliver me from this situation.”

Have you ever been there? Have you ever thought, “I don’t know what this is all about. I’m so overwhelmed by my circumstance, so flooded by deep pain, I can’t explain it. Lord, I don’t even know what to say to you. What is going on?”

I believe this is exactly what David went through when he was captured by the Philistines. When he wrote Psalm 34, he was making an admission: “I was in a situation so overwhelming that I played the part of a fool. Yet, inside I wondered, ‘What is going on with me? How has this happened? Lord, help!’”

And so it seems David was saying, “This poor man cried out from within, not knowing what or how to pray. And the Lord heard me and delivered me.” It was a deep cry from the heart, and the Lord is faithful to hear every whimper, no matter how faint.

Download PDF

God’s Promised Strength For You

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 14, 2021

Often people contact our ministry and say, “I have no one to talk to, no one to share my burden with, no one who has time to hear my cry. I need someone I can pour my heart out to.”

King David was constantly surrounded by people. He was married and had many companions at his side. Yet we hear the same cry from him: “To whom shall I go?” It is in our nature to want another human being, with a face, eyes and ears, to listen to us and advise us.

When Job became overwhelmed by his trials, he cried out with grief, “Oh that one would hear me!” (Job 31:35). He uttered this cry while sitting before his so-called friends. Those friends had no sympathy for his troubles; in fact, they were messengers of despair.

Job turned only to the Lord: “Surely even now my witness is in heaven, and my evidence is on high…My eyes pour out tears to God” (Job 16:19-20).

David urged God’s people to do likewise: “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).

Eventually, suffering comes to us all, and right now multitudes of saints are chained down by afflictions. Their circumstances have turned their joy into feelings of helplessness and uselessness. Many are asking in their pain, “Why is this happening to me? Is God mad at me? What did I do wrong? Why doesn’t he answer my prayers?”

I believe in my heart that this word is an invitation to you from the Holy Spirit to find a private place where you can frequently pour out your soul to the Lord. David “poured out his complaint,” and so can you. You can speak to Jesus about everything—your problems, your present trial, your finances, your health—and tell him how overwhelmed you are, even how discouraged you are. He will hear you with love and sympathy, and he will not despise your cry.

God answered David. He answered Job. And for centuries he has answered the heart cry of everyone who has trusted his promises. He has promised to hear you and guide you. He has pledged by oath to be your strength, so you can go to him and come out renewed.

Download PDF

Finding Direction for Life

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 13, 2021

When Scripture says the Holy Spirit “abides” in us, it means God’s Spirit comes in and possesses our bodies, making it his temple. And because the Holy Spirit knows the mind and voice of the Father, he speaks God’s thoughts to us: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit is the voice of God in and to us!

If you have the Holy Spirit abiding in you, he will instruct you personally. Please know he doesn’t speak only to pastors, prophets and teachers, but to all followers of Jesus. This is evident all through the New Testament, as the Holy Spirit led his people, constantly saying to them, “Go here, go there…enter this town…anoint that person…” The early believers were led everywhere and in everything by the Holy Ghost!

And the Spirit never speaks a single word contrary to the Scriptures. Instead, he uses the Scriptures to speak clearly to us. He never gives us a “new revelation” apart from God’s Word. He opens up to us his revealed Word, to lead, guide and comfort us, and to show us things to come.

I am convinced God speaks only to those who, like Moses, “come and stand by him.” This means we have to spend quality time with the Lord daily—waiting on him to open our heart fully to hear his voice, not being rushed in his presence, believing he loves to speak to us. He won’t keep anything from us—and he’ll never allow us to be deceived or left in confusion. Even in the most difficult times, we’ll enjoy a time of great rejoicing—because he will reveal himself to us as never before.

Download PDF

Do You Believe in Miracles?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)January 12, 2021

“Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way” (Matthew 15:32).

I believe Christ was making a statement to his disciples here. He was saying, “I’m going to do more for the people than heal them. I’ll make sure they have enough bread to eat. I’m concerned about everything that affects their lives. You have to see that I am more than just power. I am also compassion. If you see me only as a healer, a miracle worker, you will fear me. But if you also see me as compassionate, you’re going to love and trust me.”

I am writing this message for all who are on the brink of exhaustion, about to faint, overwhelmed by your present situation. You’ve been a faithful servant, feeding others, confident that God can do the impossible for his people. Yet you have some lingering doubts about his willingness to intervene in your struggle.

I wonder how many readers of this message have spoken words of faith and hope to others who are facing distressing, seemingly hopeless situations? You have urged them, “Hold on! The Lord is able. He is a miracle-working God, and his promises are true. So, don’t lose hope, because he’s going to answer your cry.”

“Do you really believe in miracles?” That’s the question the Holy Spirit asked of me. My answer was, “Yes, of course, Lord. I believe in every miracle I’ve read about in Scripture.” Yet this answer is not good enough. The Lord’s question to each one of us really is, “Do you believe I can work a miracle for you?” And not just one miracle, but a miracle for every crisis, every situation we face. We need more than Old Testament miracles, New Testament miracles, and by-gone miracles in history. We need up-to-date, personal miracles that are designed just for us and our situation.

Think of the one difficulty you’re facing right now, your greatest need, your most troubling problem. You’ve prayed about it for so long. Do you really believe the Lord can and will work it out, in ways you can’t conceive? That kind of faith commands the heart to quit fretting or asking questions. It tells you to rest in the Father’s care, trusting him to do it all in his way and time.

Download PDF